Family Photographer in San Diego
San Diego Family Photographer
Back to main blog posts
I am a newborn, maternity, and family photographer based in San Diego, California. The secret recipe to my family artwork is natural light, beautiful pastel colors, and candid emotions. It is an honor to be your personal storyteller and I cannot wait to share all the meaningful connections on my blog.
I'm SARAH Nguyen
Capturing those special family moments with a toddler can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have
to be. With some strategic planning and a few tricks, you can have a smooth,
cooperative, and fun photo session that results in heartwarming memories. Read on for secrets
to keeping your little one happy during your next family photography adventure.
One of the most critical factors in working with small children is timing. Toddlers tend to be at their best in the morning, after a full night’s rest. Schedule your photoshoot early in the day (highly recommended). Or you can just ask yourself this question, when is my child the happiest and in the best mood? Is it after breakfast or after a nap?
Typically, I recommend avoiding session times falling near regular mealtimes or naptimes (omg…they can get so hangry). A tired and hungry toddler is like cooking a meal with missing key ingredients. For example, making tacos, but missing the tortillas.
Parents, you know them best and I trust that you will always pick the best time (I believe in you!). Think of “happy hour”, the time of day when kids are most energetic and in the best mood. A cheerful child who is ready to capture those picture-perfect moments with the whole family is the secret ingredient.
Think back to when you were a kid, did you have a favorite toy? blanket? pillow? or stuffed animal?
I honestly didn’t grow up with any of that. My mom was so paranoid about me hauling a stuffed animal everywhere I went because it was unsanitary and washing it was not sufficient enough to her “standards”. She didn’t want the same toy I brought to the park to be with me in bed at night…
That was my “exciting” childhood =)
Nowadays, I find that toddlers carry their favorite toys with them because they find comfort in the familiar touch. If your child needs their favorite toy or favorite blanket, I encourage you to bring it to your photoshoot.
Anything that provides comfort or entertainment to your child is automatically invited and welcomed to join our photoshoot!
This is just me thinking long-term, but their favorite toy will be a part of the family photoshoot as well. It’s honestly a cute memory when they look back at the image years from now. Kids grow, lose interest, and move on to new things.
These cherished items add a touch of personalization and warmth to your photos. You might not see the significance now, but it will be so obvious when you look back on these photos years from now.
I like to utilize a lot of nonverbal and verbal communication during my family sessions.
One of my biggest NO is……telling a kid, “no”.
Kids usually associate “no” with a negative connotation and they usually hear it when they’re in trouble or should not be doing something against their parents’ wishes.
Instead, I love utilizing positive reinforcement and “read” a kid’s behavior to determine how to act around them. There are many ways to tell a kid “no” and make them realize that they have the power to behave the way you need them to be during a photoshoot. It’s all about communication.
I always look for a solution to a situation.
If a child is crying and is just not having it, I choose not to focus on that, but instead I like to find out why a child is behaving that way and resolve issues at the root.
Sometimes they just need a break and that’s perfectly normal.
Once the child is happy again, I leverage that moment to do fun and interactive activities. I pretend I’m also playing with them and I’m on their team. This helps me capture authentic moments as they naturally unfold and feel more comfortable in front of the camera.
Some creative activities that kids love is:
The moment the ice has been broken, the kids will naturally cooperate and be themselves. When kids are themselves, it makes my job as a photographer easier to document a child’s real smile and not have to force anything. These moments create the best and most authentic version of a kid being a kid.
We were once kids too and I miss it dearly.
For children, comfort in clothing is key. Choose fabrics that breathe, move easily, and avoid irritation. Coordinating colors and styles promotes cohesion but shouldn’t outweigh functionality. A toddler unable to move or distracted by scratchy taglines or fabric will not cooperate.
Seek garments promoting self-assurance through flexibility and ease so they can focus, not fuss. An uncomplicated, complementary ensemble allows their effervescent personality to take center stage.
Select locations invoking wonder and exploration, not fear or overstimulation. Gardens, parks, and familiar spaces allow a toddler to freely engage without apprehension. Steer clear of loud, crowded locations that could cause discomfort. Selecting a location that is peaceful and non-distracting is a big bonus!
Scouting spots with toddlers in mind ensures that the environment won’t divert your child’s attention. The emphasis belongs to their joy, not environmental spectacle. Choose safe, tranquil locations exuding peace so your toddler can comfortably shine.
The amount of effort and thoughtfulness to keep toddlers happy will make a huge difference during a family photography session. As an experienced family photographer in San Diego, I love challenges! I love it when kids are spontaneous and simply just themselves (yes, even when they’re crying or not ready for the photoshoot). I have worked with many families and my goal is to ensure the entire family feels comfortable. I genuinely believe that kids are a photographer’s best little helpers and I know just the trick to “recruit” them during a family photoshoot.
To watch the magic happen, you are gonna have to witness me in action during your family photoshoot. Interested in working with me?
Designed by Designs by Josephine